Here I sit, a little over one week postpartum feeling happy, content & peaceful, and unbelievably thrilled that finally this pregnancy is over.
Thomas Waldemar joined our family on Sunday night, June 12 at 8:29 p.m. Of the four boys, he was our shortest and most medium-sized baby, weighing in at 7 lbs. 9 ounce and almost 20 inches long.
Thomas's birth ended up being very similar to Henry's, and I feel thankful that there were no complications, and that the experience was another intensely spiritual, painful & peaceful one.
My goal at the beginning of the pregnancy was to let my body go into labor naturally--no induction, but when I found out my doctor was going to Europe on June 14, four days after my due date, I had to decide if it was worth it to sacrifice him being there for the delivery just to fulfill this desire. As it turns out, just like with all my other pregnancies, my body was dilating and showing signs of being ready to deliver even two weeks before the due date, but didn't want to make the final jump into active labor. So we decided that having doctor there was more important, and went to the hospital on Sunday evening, two days after the due date, for him to break my water. I was certain that my body would do the rest, without any other induction methods, namely pitocin, which I really didn't want. Dr. Cooper delivered Owen and Henry, and his calm, relaxed and encouraging presence in the delivery room is just amazing and I really wanted him and not a stranger there for my final birth.
So, we arrived at the hospital at 4 p.m., dr. broke my water at 5:25, regular contractions were happening about 20-30 mins later, and painful ones about 1 hour after that. My body did cooperate, and I really think my desire and my will to not have pitocin was strong enough to make those contractions strong and regular. I was able to labor in the jacuzzi tub, on the ball, walking around, and only had to get in the bed twice, once at about 7:15 where the nurse checked and found I was about 6 cm, and then once again around 8:00 when dr. checked and I was 8-9 cm. He stayed and talked me through the final contractions, which were amazingly painful but also very cool. Since I was able to labor these last contractions while standing up, I could really feel gravity helping baby's head drop little by little into the birth canal. When I had a final, unbelievably painful, intense one, I and the nurses and dr. knew that it was time to get back in bed and push. The 15 minutes of pushing was crazy intense, but thrilling and fulfilling. I feel thankful that it was so quick, and I never, ever want to do it again.
We were so fortunate to have nurses that supported my desire for a natural birth. They were patient, calm, encouraging, and facilitated every desire we had. While pushing, when I had several moments of "I cannot do this", the nurse who was holding my left leg kept saying to me, "but you are doing it" and that helped so much. She was also the one who, when the painful contractions really kicked in, said to me, "you do whatever your body tells you to do and whatever feels good. If you want to be in the bath during one contraction and on the ball the very next one, you do that." I really appreciated that suggestion, and found that in the last hour when the contractions were intense and close together and very painful, I really did just what she said. Sometimes I was using the handheld shower head to relieve the pain, sometimes I was leaning on the bed, sometimes I was bouncing on the ball. It was a relief to know that being fickle and changing positions every 5 minutes or less was okay with everyone, and they all supported whatever helped me to get through the pain.
Jeff was a champion coach and partner through the whole thing. He was also calm, patient and encouraging and found a massage technique for my lower back that really, really helped the pain.
When Thomas was finally born, when that final push was done, I have never felt such relief and joy and elation. They put him on my chest, skin-to-skin, and the lights were low and it was pouring rain outside and it was just peaceful and emotional and wonderful. He was a bit fussy and pooped all over me, but just to know he was out of my body, and healthy and completing our family filled me with such joy.
And now, being home, watching the three big brothers with their new little brother has been such fun. I love that school is out, that we have no schedule to follow and we can get to know Thomas and love him all together. My parents were here for a week and did so much to help and support us, and now friends have taken over, bringing food and love and more joy into our home.
Babies are so special and I feel so blessed to have this little guy to snuggle and feed and smell and hold. He is a very important part of our family, and we couldn't be more happy to have him here with us.
***If you're interested, you can see some better pictures than we were able to take of Thomas's first days in the hospital here. The password is 504801361282318, last four of my name is Full.